The Nitty Gritty on Oil Of Oregano Vs Oregano Essential Oil

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The humble oregano plant (Origanum vulgare) has long been celebrated for its culinary contributions, but beneath its aromatic leaves lies a treasure trove of medicinal compounds.

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The potent healing properties of oregano have been harnessed through two distinct forms: oregano essential oil and oil of oregano extract. Understanding the differences between these two remedies and how to use them effectively is crucial for unlocking their full therapeutic potential.

oregano perennial

The Power Packed within Oregano

Before delving into the specifics of oregano essential oil and oil of oregano, it’s essential to grasp the robust medicinal compounds harbored within the oregano plant.

Oregano is rich in carvacrol, thymol, rosmarinic acid, and terpenes, which exhibit powerful antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. Harnessing these compounds requires careful extraction processes, resulting in two distinctive medicinal products with unique benefits.

Oregano Essential Oil

Let’s first dive into the nitty gritty of oregano essential oil, the most potent form of oregano you can find!

benefits of oregano essential oil

How Oregano Essential Oil is Made

Oregano essential oil is a concentrated liquid derived from the leaves and flowering tops of the oregano plant. The extraction process typically involves steam distillation, a meticulous method that captures the volatile compounds of the plant without compromising their efficacy.

During steam distillation, steam is passed through the plant material, causing the essential oil to evaporate. The vapor is then condensed back into liquid form, leaving behind a potent oregano essential oil. The result is a highly concentrated solution, with the characteristic aroma and therapeutic properties of oregano intensified.

oil of oregano vs oregano essential oil

Unveiling the Medicinal Bounty of Oregano Essential Oil

Antibacterial and Antifungal Powerhouse

At the heart of oregano essential oil’s medicinal prowess lies its impressive antibacterial and antifungal properties. The primary active compound responsible for these benefits is carvacrol, a natural phenol with well-documented antimicrobial capabilities. Studies have highlighted the effectiveness of oregano essential oil against a spectrum of bacteria, including the notorious Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

Carvacrol disrupts the cell membrane of bacteria, leading to cell death, while also inhibiting the growth of fungi such as Candida albicans. Harnessing this antibacterial and antifungal power makes oregano essential oil a potent natural remedy for addressing skin infections, nail fungus, and even conditions like athlete’s foot.

Antiviral Guardian

Oregano essential oil emerges as a natural antiviral warrior, providing an additional layer of defense against viral infections. Research has illuminated its effectiveness against respiratory viruses, including influenza strains. Inhalation of oregano essential oil vapors or diffusion in the air may offer respiratory support and help fend off common viral threats.

The antiviral properties extend beyond respiratory health, with oregano essential oil showcasing potential benefits against various viral infections. As an immune-boosting agent, it contributes to the body’s ability to resist and combat viral invaders.

Immune System Fortification

A crucial facet of oregano essential oil’s medicinal bounty is its ability to fortify the immune system. Rich in antioxidants like rosmarinic acid, the oil supports the body’s natural defense mechanisms. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and promoting a healthy immune response.

Incorporating oregano essential oil into daily routines, whether through aromatherapy, topical application, or ingestion in controlled amounts, may contribute to overall immune resilience. This becomes particularly relevant during seasons of increased susceptibility to infections, offering a natural means of reinforcing the body’s defenses.

Respiratory Wellness

Oregano essential oil has proven benefits for respiratory health. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate symptoms of respiratory conditions like bronchitis, asthma, or congestion. Steam inhalation with a few drops of oregano essential oil can provide relief by opening airways and reducing inflammation, promoting easier breathing.

The oil’s ability to address both bacterial and viral respiratory infections positions it as a versatile aid in maintaining optimal lung function. Incorporating oregano essential oil into a diffuser or creating a chest rub for topical application enhances its efficacy in supporting respiratory wellness.

Skin Care Marvel

Beyond its internal benefits, oregano essential oil serves as a valuable asset in skincare. Its potent antimicrobial properties make it effective against acne-causing bacteria, and its anti-inflammatory nature aids in soothing irritated skin. Diluted oregano essential oil can be applied topically to address skin concerns, promoting a clearer and healthier complexion.

oil of oregano vs essential oil

Using Oregano Essential Oil Safely

Oregano essential oil is a potent natural remedy, and its usage requires careful consideration to ensure safety and efficacy. Here, we outline safe methods for using oregano essential oil, along with practices to avoid to prevent potential adverse effects.

Safe Methods for Using Oregano Essential Oil

1. Dilution:

  • Topical Application: Always dilute oregano essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut, jojoba, or almond oil before applying it to the skin. A general guideline is to use 1-2 drops of oregano essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil to avoid skin irritation.
  • Sensitive Areas: Be cautious when applying oregano oil to sensitive areas such as the face, neck, or genital regions. Dilute it even more to prevent skin irritation.

2. Aromatherapy:

  • Diffusion: Use an essential oil diffuser to disperse oregano essential oil into the air. This is an effective way to enjoy its aromatic and therapeutic benefits without direct skin contact.

3. Inhalation:

  • Steam Inhalation: Add a few drops of oregano essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Inhale the steam with caution, ensuring the vapors are not too intense. This method can be beneficial for respiratory issues.

4. Oral Consumption:

  • Under Supervision: If considering oral consumption, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. If approved, add a drop or two to a carrier oil, honey, or a glass of water. Do not ingest undiluted oregano essential oil.

5. Blending:

  • Synergistic Blends: Combine oregano essential oil with other essential oils for a synergistic effect. Common pairings include tea tree, lavender, and eucalyptus oils.

6. Short-Term Use:

  • Intermittent Usage: Reserve oregano essential oil for short-term use during specific health challenges. Prolonged or excessive use may lead to sensitization.

Unsafe Methods to Avoid

1. Undiluted Application:

  • Direct Skin Contact: Avoid applying undiluted oregano essential oil directly to the skin. This can cause irritation, redness, and a burning sensation.

2. Excessive Ingestion:

  • Internal Use Without Guidance: Do not ingest oregano essential oil without consulting a healthcare professional. Excessive consumption can lead to digestive issues and may be toxic in high doses.

3. Long-Term Use:

  • Extended Use: Prolonged or frequent use of oregano essential oil can lead to skin sensitization. Rotate its use with other essential oils and limit application to targeted periods.

4. Use During Pregnancy:

  • Pregnancy and Nursing: Pregnant or nursing individuals should avoid using oregano essential oil without consulting their healthcare provider. It may have adverse effects on pregnancy and has not been studied enough to be considered safe.

5. Allergic Reactions:

  • Allergic Sensitivity: Individuals with known allergies to oregano or other aromatic plants should exercise caution. Perform a patch test before widespread use.

6. Inhalation Caution:

  • Excessive Inhalation: While steam inhalation can be beneficial, excessive exposure to concentrated vapors may lead to respiratory irritation. Use with moderation.
oregano good for

Oil of Oregano

Now that we got the concentrated form of oregano out of the way, lets dive into the details about oil of oregano, a much friendly option for beginners!

How Oil of Oregano Is Made

Distinct from oregano essential oil, oil of oregano extract is crafted through a process involving the maceration of oregano leaves in a carrier oil, often olive oil. This extraction method yields a milder yet still potent solution that encapsulates the plant’s medicinal compounds. This oil is much easier to make at home if you grow your own oregano!

Harnessing the Medicinal Potency of Oil of Oregano Extract

oregano essential oil vs oregano oil

1. Gastrointestinal Health:

  • Antimicrobial Action: Oil of oregano extract is renowned for its antimicrobial properties, particularly against harmful bacteria. When ingested, it may help maintain a healthy balance of gut flora by targeting pathogenic bacteria while preserving beneficial microbes. This makes it a potential remedy for addressing various gastrointestinal issues, such as bacterial overgrowth or infections.
  • Candida Control: The extract’s antifungal properties extend to combating Candida overgrowth, a common concern in the digestive system. Oil of oregano’s ability to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans may contribute to a balanced and thriving gut environment.
  • Digestive Support: Oil of oregano extract may offer digestive support by promoting proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Its mild nature makes it suitable for addressing issues like indigestion, bloating, and gas.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits:

  • Terpenes and Rosmarinic Acid: The terpenes present in oil of oregano, along with rosmarinic acid, confer anti-inflammatory properties. These components work synergistically to reduce inflammation in various tissues and may be particularly beneficial for those dealing with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • Pain Relief: The anti-inflammatory nature of oil of oregano may also contribute to pain relief. When applied topically to affected areas, it may help alleviate discomfort associated with inflammatory conditions or minor injuries.

3. Antioxidant Protection:

  • Free Radical Scavenging: Oil of oregano extract contains antioxidants that act as free radical scavengers. These antioxidants, including rosmarinic acid, help neutralize oxidative stress in the body, protecting cells from damage. Regular consumption of oil of oregano extract may contribute to overall cellular health and combat the effects of environmental stressors.
  • Systemic Benefits: The antioxidant-rich profile of oil of oregano extract extends its benefits beyond specific health concerns. By providing systemic antioxidant protection, it supports the body in its defense against oxidative damage, contributing to overall well-being.

4. Respiratory Support:

  • Mucolytic Properties: Oil of oregano extract may exhibit mucolytic properties, helping to break down mucus and support respiratory function. This makes it a potential ally for individuals dealing with respiratory conditions such as bronchitis or congestion.
  • Immune Modulation: The extract’s influence on the respiratory system may also be linked to its immune-modulating effects. By promoting a healthy immune response, oil of oregano extract contributes to the body’s ability to fend off respiratory infections.
Bottle of Herbal Roots Oil of Oregano with oil of oregano soft gels and fresh oregano on a platter

5. Topical Applications:

  • Skin Conditions: When diluted with a carrier oil, oil of oregano extract can be applied topically to address various skin conditions. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for conditions like acne, eczema, or fungal infections.
  • Wound Healing: The extract’s antimicrobial nature may also support wound healing by preventing infection and promoting a clean healing environment. It can be applied to minor cuts, scrapes, or insect bites.

6. Oral Consumption Guidelines:

  • Moderation is Key: While oil of oregano extract can be ingested, it should be done in moderation and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Excessive consumption may lead to digestive discomfort or potential interactions with medications.
benefits of oil of oregano

Using Oil of Oregano Safely

Using oil of oregano can offer various health benefits, but it’s important to employ safe methods to ensure efficacy and avoid potential adverse effects. A lot of these tips are similar to the oregano essential oil listed above, however, they are pretty important to follow so it’s worth repeating.

Safe Methods for Using Oil of Oregano:

1. Dilution:

  • Topical Application: Always dilute oil of oregano with a carrier oil before applying it to the skin. A recommended dilution is typically around 1-3 drops of oil of oregano per teaspoon of carrier oil. This prevents skin irritation.

2. Patch Test:

  • Skin Sensitivity: Before widespread use, conduct a patch test by applying a diluted solution of oil of oregano to a small area of your skin. Monitor for any adverse reactions, such as redness or irritation, before broader application.

3. Oral Consumption:

  • Under Supervision: If ingesting oil of oregano, it’s advisable to do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Consider adding a drop or two to a teaspoon of honey, olive oil, or another edible carrier. Do not ingest undiluted oil of oregano.

4. Short-Term Use:

  • Intermittent Application: Use oil of oregano for short durations, especially during acute health challenges. Prolonged or frequent use may lead to sensitization or other adverse effects.

5. Incorporate into Cooking:

  • Culinary Use: Incorporating oil of oregano into your cooking is a safe and flavorful way to enjoy its benefits. Add a drop or two to salad dressings, marinades, or dishes for both taste and health.

6. Consult with Professionals:

  • Pregnancy and Health Conditions: Pregnant or nursing individuals, as well as those with pre-existing health conditions or taking medications, should consult healthcare professionals before using oil of oregano.

Unsafe Methods to Avoid:

1. Undiluted Application:

oregano oil vs oregano extract
  • Direct Skin Contact: Avoid applying undiluted oil of oregano directly to the skin. This can lead to skin irritation, burning sensations, or an allergic reaction.

2. Excessive Ingestion:

  • Internal Use Without Guidance: Ingesting excessive amounts of oil of oregano can lead to digestive issues, nausea, or other adverse effects. Always follow recommended dosages and seek professional advice.

3. Prolonged Use:

  • Extended Application: Prolonged or frequent use of oil of oregano may lead to sensitization. Rotate its use with other natural remedies and limit application to specific periods.

4. Allergic Reactions:

  • Individual Allergies: Individuals with known allergies to oregano or related plants (such as basil, mint, or sage) should exercise caution. Perform a patch test and discontinue use if allergic reactions occur.

5. Inhalation Caution:

  • Excessive Inhalation: While inhaling the vapors of oil of oregano can be beneficial, excessive exposure may lead to respiratory irritation. Use with moderation, especially during steam inhalation.

6. Children and Pets:

  • Caution with Children and Pets: Exercise caution when using oil of oregano around children or pets. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or veterinarian for appropriate dosages and methods.

The medicinal benefits of oregano extend far beyond the kitchen, with oregano essential oil and oil of oregano extract offering unique therapeutic advantages. While oregano essential oil shines in its concentrated, versatile form with potent antimicrobial properties, oil of oregano extract provides a milder option with a broader spectrum of applications. Integrating these herbal remedies into a holistic health regimen requires a nuanced understanding of their properties and appropriate usage, unlocking the full potential of nature’s pharmacy in the form of oregano.

Hey Beautiful! I’m Tara, garden enthusiasts, keeper of chickens, herbal homesteader and stay at home mom of 3 tiny humans and a sourdough starter named Ma. I love teaching others how to live a self-sufficient and sustainable life through homesteading, scratch cooking, and remembering to live barefoot, wild and free!

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